Frelinghuysen: Renew Highlands Conservation Act (HCA)

Frelinghuysen Advances Highlands Protection Act of 2014:

Urges Its Renewal

WASHINGTON, D.C.    Congressman Rodney P. Frelinghuysen today urged his colleagues to reauthorize the federal Highlands Conservation Act (HCA), a landmark piece of environmental legislation that Frelinghuysen authored and which was signed into law in 2004.

Testifying before the Committee on Natural Resources’ Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation, Frelinghuysen called his bill “an essential program” that helps protect “over 3 million acres of New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Connecticut.”

“The Highlands region,” Frelinghuysen continued, “is an area of significant natural beauty containing forests and environmentally sensitive land, which provide a habitat for hundreds of plant and animal species and provides recreation opportunities for millions of people who live in the region.  The Highlands watershed lands contain reservoirs and aquifers that provide and protect high quality drinking water for millions of Americans.”

Since being signed into law, the Highlands Conservation Act has protected more than 5,000 acres.  The federal government has provided $14.25 million under the act.  Those funds have been matched on more than a 2:1 ratio by non-federal funds, generating an additional $34 million to protect this precious natural resource in one of the most densely populated regions of the country.

Frelinghuysen concluded, “While we have been successful in protecting thousands of acres over the last ten years, our work is not done. It is essential we continue to work in public-private partnerships and with our local, county and state officials to save open space in the Highlands.”